Refugees: Celebrate

Celebrate the contributions of refugees to the UK by developing empathy and understanding of the situations refugees have gone through.

Vietnamese artist Hong Dam.
Lesson plan, images
Citizenship, PSHE, Art and design
Refugees and migration

Explore the Traces Project, which celebrates people who came to the UK as refugees and have made a significant artistic or cultural contribution.

Through discussion, creative activities and worksheets, learners consider why people may have to flee their countries and how they may feel. Young people then reflect on other positive contributions made by refugees before creating their own artistic response to the theme.


Learning objectives

Learners will:

  • consider what might cause someone to have to flee their country and seek refuge elsewhere
  • explore the emotions, feelings and the practical impact of having to leave your home, your country and your family
  • discuss the contributions of refugees to art and culture as well as their wider contributions to society
  • communicate their learning through art.


Resource overview

1. Start with the art

A series of activities which encourage young people to explore the work of refugee artists in the UK. Featured artists include:

  • Marina Lewycka: literature
  • Hong Dam: visual/digital
  • Rita Ora: music
  • Emad Altaay: visual/painter
  • al-Saddiq al-Raddi: poetry

2. Discuss

Learners consider why people have to leave their home and countries and how they may feel.

3. Communicate

Learners communicate their learning through developing a piece of artistic work which celebrates the contribution of refugees to society.

4. Reflective activities

Reflect on the positive contributions of refugees to UK communities.


The activities in this resource were inspired by the Traces Project of Refugee Week 2015. This resource was written by Rob Bowden and Rosie Wilson of Lifeworlds Learning with associate Claire Plumb and published in June 2015. It was reviewed in September 2017.

The photo shows Vietnamese artist Hong Dam (© Traces Project, Counterpoints Arts/Hong Dam).